DVD Review: The Love Boat (Season Four: Volume One & Two

Before the internet, the best way to know if an actor or actress was alive was by watching The Love Boat. Anyone who was even slightly famous in the ’50s to the ’70s found themselves boarding the cruise ship. It was the perfect way to say, “I’m not that dead” and get a few drinks mixed up by Isaac. Each week the show brought on a large group of guest stars that you. The show also allowed actors to show they could work outside of their genre defining characters. A comedic supporting actor could land the dramatic storyline. A dramatic actress could participate in slapstick fun. And the dreaded “best friend” character could get the girl in a romantic plot. The Love Boat: Season Four – Volume One & Two has more than a 100 guest stars getting a ticket to expand their careers.

Season four starts out strong with “Friends and Lovers / Sergeant Bull / Miss Mother” bringing a future Oscar winner onto the deck. Tom Hanks (Turner and Hooch) is the frat brother of Gopher (Fred Grandy). In order to look good, Gopher has Julie fake being his girlfriend. But Hanks and Julie kinda mess up the plan. This role allowed Hanks to introduce himself to viewers before being a lead on Bosum Buddies. Also along on the cruise is poet laureate of TV Nipsey Russell and Harvey Lembeck (Eric Von Zipper in the Beach Party films) reuniting with their old Sargent (Alice‘s Vic Taybeck) only to realize there’s a reason they didn’t quite like the authoritarian guy. The second episode is a massive journey through the Panama Canal with a massive group wedding as the highlight. They loaded this episode of up with so much star power including Darren McGavin (Kolchak), Debbie Reynolds, Peter Graves (Mission: Impossible), Erin Moran (Happy Days), Charlene Tilton (Dallas), Donny Most (Happy Days), Rue McClanahan (Golden Girls), Ted Knight (The Mary Tyler Moore Show), Ann Jillian (It’s A Living), and Dawn Wells (Gilligan’s Island). “Target Gopher / The Major’s Wife / Strange Honeymoon / The Oilman Cometh” has the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders at their prime and Pat Harrington (Schneider on One Day At A Time).

The special episode of the season to me is “The Horse Lover / Secretary to the Stars / Julie’s Decision / Gopher and Isaac Buy a Horse / The Village People Ride Again.” Why? Because it stars the Village People. Recently I made a TV series called Danger! Health Films (streams on Amazon Prime) with the original Cowboy (Randy Jones). He hosted the show and it’s such fun to see him and the other Village People performing all over the Pacific Princess. They are not alone in the horse riding episode as they hang with David Doyle (Charlie’s Angels), Loni Anderson (WKRP in Cincinnati) and real life married couple Betty White (The Golden Girls) and Allen Ludden (Password). Keeping the peace is Robert Stack (The Untouchables).

“Captain’s Triangle / Boomerang / Out of This World” dares to let us know that there was a third Van Dyke. Barry Van Dyke (son of Dick, nephew of Jerry and star of Galactica 1980) tries to work his magic with Pamela Sue Martin (Nancy Drew Mysteries). All that matters about “”Frugal Pair, The / Doc’s Dismissal / The Girl Next Door” is that Jessica Walter (Archer and Arrested Development) is on board. Oddly enough “Isaac’s Teacher / Seal of Approval / The Successor” stars Jeffrey Tambor (Arrested Development and The Larry Sanders Show). Tambor is plays the husband of a dying Florence Henderson (The Brady Bunch). She wants to find her husband a new wife for when she’s gone.

Volume Two has 14 episodes. “Trigamist, The / Jealousy / From Here to Maternity” has mild mannered George Gobel (Hollywood Squares) as a man who can’t stop getting married. Nancy Walker (director of Can’t Stop the Music) is a judge that wants to stop him. “April the Ninny / The Loan Arranger / First Voyage, Last Voyage” unleashes a date with Charo! You also get Larry Linville (M*A*S*H*), Maureen McCormick (The Brady Bunch), Richard Kline (Larry on Three’s Company), Lisa Hartman (from Mike Lefler’s college fridge), and Jay Thomas (Cheers) taking in the coochi coooo! “Lose One, Win One / For the Record (The $10,000 Lover) / Mind My Wife” makes room of a Sweathog (Ron Palillo), James Darren (TJ Hooker) and Jill St. John (Diamonds Are Forever). “Isaac and the Mermaids / Humpty, Dumpty / Aquaphobic” has the bartender (Ted Lange) accidentally launch the career of the Pointer Sisters. In a dream teaming we get Louis Nye (Sonny Drysdale on The Beverly Hillbillies), Audra Lindley (Mrs. Roper on Three’s Company
and David Hasselhof (some of those Sharknado movies). “Lady from Sunshine Gardens / Eye of the Beholder / Bugged” is booked by Leslie Uggams (Roots), David Hedison (Live and Let Die & Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea), Dick Martin (Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In and Barbi Benton (Playboy After Dark). “Model Marriage, A / This Year’s Model / Original Sin / Vogue Rogue / Too Clothes for Comfort closes up the year with a mega fashion line up of Geoffrey Beene, Halston, Bob Mackie, and Gloria Vanderbilt. Then the star power looks spiffy with Robert Vaughn (Man From U.N.C.L.E.), Anne Baxter, Mike Connors (Mannix), McLean Stevenson (Hello Larry), Debra Winger (Wonder Woman), Elke Sommer (Zeppelin), Jayne Kennedy (Battlestar Galactica and Dick Shawn (The Producers). The even suave it all up with the vocal stylings of Bobby Short. Now that’s a cruise I’d book.

The Love Boat: Season Four – Volume One & Two is everything you want out of the series. The famous faces are all over the Lido Deck. The crew still keeps things happening between the storylines with Captain Stubbing (McHale’s Navy‘s Gavin MacLeod), Doc (Get Smart‘s Bernie Kopell), Gopher, Issac (Friday Foster‘s Ted Lange) and Jill (Lauren Tewes) all doing their best to find their own romance. The only person not getting too freaky is the Captiain’s daughter Vicki Stubing (Jill Whelan). She’s still a kid. They keep up with all their guest stars’ needs. And it’s good to know all these famous people were alive in 1980-81. This is the only nostalgia cruise you need this Fall.

The video is 1.33:1 full frame. The transfers look so much better than the episodes running on MeTV. The Village People have never looked more shiny and fun. The audio is Dolby Digital Mono. The levels bring out those disco beats. The episodes are subtitled.

Promos (0:30) are featured for each episode to tease you about the star content. Sadly does not feature ABC announcer Ernie Anderson saying, “The Loooove Boat.”

CBS DVD presents The Love Boat: Season Four: Volume One. Starring: Gavin MacLeod, Bernie Kopell, Fred Grandy, Ted Lange and
Lauren Tewes. Boxset Contents: 11 episodes on 4 DVDs. Released: October 2, 2018.

CBS DVD presents The Love Boat: Season Four: Volume Two. Starring: Gavin MacLeod, Bernie Kopell, Fred Grandy, Ted Lange and
Lauren Tewes. Boxset Contents: 14 episodes on 4 DVDs. Released: October 2, 2018.

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